Houston, Texas--Diet, exercise, and genetics all play a role in healthy aging, but what about social engagement? Recent research from the National Institute on Aging found that socialization plays an essential role in overall health and activity levels as people age.
"Good habits are incubated and maintained through strong relationships – whether we are exercising together, or learning together, or laughing together; collectively, we are adding quality to our lives and probably living longer as a side effect," says Jeff Watson, Director of Operations of Resident Life at Erickson Living.
At Eagle's Trace, the Erickson Living-managed community in West Houston, social connections are the cornerstone of a vibrant lifestyle. Residents can pursue their passions, engage in a plethora of activities, dine with neighbors and find purpose in volunteering.
"Living in community provides social opportunities that aren't as readily accessible in a single-family home," says Sales Director Pamela Burgeson. "Our residents don't have to leave the campus to get together with friends for dinner, work out in the fitness center or attend a club meeting. There's something here for everyone to get involved and connect with their neighbors."
The scenic 72-acre campus is home to more than 960 residents, and the community's monthly calendar details the happenings of 100+ resident-led clubs and activities.
Social opportunities abound
Margaret Keller moved to Eagle's Trace in December 2019 with her husband Tom. The couple relocated from Henderson, Nevada to be closer to their children and grandchildren in Texas.
"We lived in Houston three times over the course of Tom's career, so we have friends in the city," describes Margaret. "We looked at a number of possible living arrangements, but ultimately chose Eagle's Trace for its location, continuing care options and opportunities for active living."
Soon after they moved, neighbors invited Tom and Margaret to a coffee gathering in the lobby of the Galveston Crossing residence building.
"One thing led to another, and now we're also part of a group that gets together for lunch," says Margaret. "If you move in with the attitude that you want to get involved and meet people, you'll certainly find plenty of opportunities here."
Tom and Margaret work out regularly in two onsite fitness centers, and Margaret enjoys the Cardio Pump and line dancing group exercise classes. They've joined the Soaring Eagle's Wine Club, and they appreciate the opportunity to get to know their neighbors over a shared meal in the onsite restaurants.
"Socialization is every bit as important as exercise," says Margaret. "Getting out and meeting people helps us feel connected and engaged."
Erickson Living's Embrace Wellness initiative is designed to support all dimensions of wellness, including social, physical, emotional, intellectual, occupational, spiritual and environmental.
"The culture at Eagle's Trace has so much richness in terms of social wellness," states Mr. Watson. "One of the greatest things about living in community is that we can continue to encourage the people around us and to draw joy from them."
Joan Maresca knows well the joy that comes from building relationships. She has served as the Chair of the Welcome Committee at Eagle's Trace for more than three years.
"The purpose of the Welcome Committee is to acquaint new residents with the lifestyle we enjoy here," describes Joan, a retired teacher who moved to Eagle's Trace with her husband Frank in 2015. "We developed Eagle's Trace 101, a five-session series to explain every department on campus. We also host new resident dinners in the private dining room on a regular basis."
Joan says her own move to Eagle's Trace created fresh opportunities to get involved.
"Here, I have things to look forward to every day," she states. "There's always something to do and someone to talk with. Developing associations between residents only strengthens that sense of connectedness."
About Eagle's Trace: Eagle's Trace, one of 20 continuing care retirement communities developed and managed by Erickson Living®, is situated on a scenic 72-acre campus in West Houston, Texas. The not-for-profit community of more than 960 residents and 500 employees is governed by its own board of directors, affiliated with National Senior Campuses, who provide independent financial and operational oversight. Additional information can be found at EaglesTraceCommunity.com.